What Is Colostrum And Why Is It A Superfood?
Learn everything about how colostrum benefits a newborn and why is the best superfood for your baby
What is colostrum?
Colostrum is the first milk (also known as pre-milk) that is produced by every mammalian mother (including humans) after giving birth. It might occasionally be secreted just around the end of pregnancy. It is a sticky, yellow liquid that is extremely rich in nutrients and several other substances, that helps the new-born to adapt to life outside the womb.
Why is colostrum a superfood?
The composition of colostrum is very different from the milk that is expressed later on. Colostrum is highly potent in immunoglobulins, which are the first line of defence during an infection. It is also highly rich in growth factors, enzymes, peptides, vitamins, essential fatty acids, minerals and amino acids. The protein content of colostrum is also higher than the milk secreted later. Consumption of colostrum benefits the body in so many ways, that it is now also available as supplements for adults.
What are the colostrum benefits for a new born?
Colostrum when given to a new born baby has the following benefits:
- It contains a high level of antibodies, which help to build a good immune system
- It builds a coat on the stomach lining of the baby – this protects the baby from illnesses not only in the infancy, but also in the future.
- Colostrum helps in expelling meconium (baby’s first stool) by acting like a laxative
- It prevents development of jaundice
- Colostrum benefits the baby by providing the right nutrients in adequate amount, thus making it the perfect food.
There are several colostrum supplements available in the supermarket with similar nutritional benefits. In addition,
- Organic colostrum helps to regulate dopamine and serotonin, which help to enhance the mood.
- There are several studies that have showed that colostrum can help to reduce inflammation, and pain, and can help improve many autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus and Crohn’s disease.
- It has also proven to be highly remarkable in regulating blood sugar levels and helping in weight loss, especially in people suffering from diabetes.
Some of the other advantages of taking colostrum are:
- Colostrum contains very low levels of lactose, in fact so low, that even lactose intolerant individuals can consume it without any difficulty. However, it is important to be cautious and start with the least possible dose.
- It can be used as a supplement in children as it provides the optimum nutrition for development of body systems.
How much colostrum supplement is enough?
Around 1 to 4 teaspoons of natural colostrum is expressed directly from the breast every day. The amount of colostrum secreted is just enough to meet the requirements of the baby. Also, remember that many mothers produce only 1 ounce (around 30 ml) of colostrum in the first 24 hours, which is the perfect amount since the baby’s stomach is no bigger than a marble. Hence, it is important to ensure that the baby is breastfed as often to start the milk supply.
For adults, the recommended dose is usually a teaspoon of colostrum powder (half a teaspoon for children) mixed with water twice a day, taken on an empty stomach. You can also take the supplements in capsule form and the dosage depends on the capsule strength.
Organic colostrum contains no added ingredients and refrigeration is not required.
Babies do not need to be given any form of supplements as the colostrum is highly concentrated and contains the highest level of nutrients.
In cases of any concern, always consult a paediatrician or physician. Even better, make an appointment with a lactation consultant as they can give better advice on your baby’s feeds.